Gordon Marsden MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Further Education, Skills and Regional Growth, commenting on the Government’s response to the Richard Review, said:
“Coming after a fall in apprenticeships for under 19s, the weak response to the Richard Review shows David Cameron is failing to deliver apprenticeships for young jobseekers.
“The Tory-led Government’s response to the Richard Review today is yet another fudge at a time when the government is unwilling to engage with the issue of reforming funding incentives to help businesses take on apprentices. It underlines the Government’s disappointing record, following their decision to sideline Jason Holt’s valuable report on helping small firms take on apprentices – a report they commissioned themselves. Earlier this week, the Government also voted down Labour’s plan to use the money government already spends on public procurement to boost apprenticeship opportunities.
“Ministers appear to have comprehensively ignored Richard’s recommendations on incentivising employers to take on apprentices through reforming funding schemes. Labour is taking forward this vital issue through our One Nation Skills Taskforce, looking at how best to put businesses in the driving seat on the vocational agenda. Doug Richard was right to say that the apprenticeship brand should be protected. The government says it will take forward his demands on quality, but ministers need to give assurances on how and when they will implement this. We will keep pressing them to take real action to deliver the step change we need for employers and apprentices.”